Questions mark first day of deliberations at Manafort trial

Questions mark first day of deliberations at Manafort trial

Questions mark first day of deliberations at Manafort trial

Manafort's defense attorney Kevin Downing told reporters they "really appreciate the support of President Trump".

Another headline on Friday that might grab the attention of jurors: Ellis disclosing that he personally had received threats related to the trial and was being protected by US marshals.

The judge said he was optimistic that there could be a verdict "soon" as the jury began a second day of deliberations.

Manafort's trial in federal court in Alexandria is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 15-month-old investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 US election, Reuters said.

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Speaking at a hearing outside of jurors' presence, Ellis also said he has no plan to release the names and home addresses of those 12 people now deliberating Manafort's fate because he is anxious about their "peace and safety". "I don't feel right if I release their names".

However, some legal experts expressed concern that comments by Trump on Friday calling the trial of Manafort "very sad" and lauding him as a "very good person" might still be viewed - inadvertently or otherwise - by jurors over the weekend.

A Manafort conviction would undermine efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers to paint Mueller's inquiry as a political witch hunt, while an acquittal would be a setback for Mueller.

"I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad, when you look at what's going on there". But you know what? He then called on a "Mr. Trump", prompting laughter and a smile from Manafort.

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"A thirsty press is essential to a free country", Ellis said in open court, after the jury had retired to resume deliberations.

Monday marks the third day that jurors ponder the 18-count indictment. He has already issued a number of pardons, including for a political ally, former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Manafort is not charged with any crimes related to his brief time as Trump's campaign chief, but the trial is seen as an important test for the Mueller probe.

The financial fraud trial calls on the dozen jurors to follow the complexities of foreign bank accounts and shell companies, loan regulations and tax rules. If convicted on all the charges, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

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During two weeks of testimony, witnesses described how Manafort routed $16 million in income hidden in foreign bank accounts to USA vendors to purchase real estate, expensive clothing and antique rugs, income he is charged with omitting from his tax returns.

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